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Travesty in Haiti: A True Account of Christian Missions, Orphanages, Fraud, Food Aid and Drug Trafficking
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Travesty in Haiti: A True Account of Christian Missions, Orphanages, Fraud, Food Aid and Drug Trafficking

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  15 reviews
TRAVESTY is an anthropologist's personal story of working with foreign aid agencies and discovering that fraud, greed, corruption, apathy, and political agendas permeate the industry. It is a story of failed agricultural, health and credit projects; violent struggles for control over foreign aid; corrupt orphanage owners, pastors, and missionaries; the nepotistic manipulat ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published July 5th 2008 by Booksurge Publishing
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Heavy stuff, but then again it has to do with Haiti so what isn't? He puts together a pretty compelling case on how food aid has completely effed the country, but I can't get over the sensational feeling of his writing. I don't know how I'd do it better, but he seems to continuously revert to these raw/visceral/primitive tropes in describing the Haitian lifestyle, which made me lose sight of his subject's humanity. They're people down there, and that's why we care about their suffering. He does, ...more
I thought the author did a brilliant job of taking many concepts of food aid, health care and orphanages and uncovered a confusing and shocking level of corruption. He did so through the cultural lens of Haiti. Anyone considering sending aid in any form to Haiti should read this book. It will help you make educated decision about where to put your money and good intentions. This book appears to be self-published and cry's out for some serious editing. I'm shocked that no major publisher has pick ...more
This book takes the first person perspective of an anthropologist who spent 10+ years in Haiti. The title word says it all - travesty. The author goes through various spheres in Haitian humanitarian aid, including food aid, orphanages, medical care, and schools. He also touches on voodoo, the police and justice system, poverty in rural Haiti, and finally on drug trafficking. The author walks away with a cynical and disillusioned perspective after all of his research - for good reason after all t ...more
Cultural Immersion

This is a first hand account of the author’s extended stay and immersion into the Haitian culture, living among the poor. The book portrays an interesting cross section into Haitian society, as illuminated by the author’s direct experiences of living in the countryside. During his time in Haiti, the author develops strong opinions about the ineffectiveness of foreign aid and this essentially serves as the theme throughout the book.

The author lived in a Hamlet that is a part of
Justin Podur
I knew a lot about Haiti when I read this - I had been there twice, and had pretty much written a book of my own about Haiti politics. But Tim Schwartz's book was still shocking, and his insights are still pretty searing. The chapters on food aid and orphanages especially were of the "too unbelievable to be anything but true" kind. I like his writing too. There is this kind of trick he does where, in each chapter he explains how naively he thought things were one way, then they turned out to be ...more
Another searing testament to the failure of aid organizations to bring about positive change in Haiti. The overarching themes are not new - much of it was covered in Amy Wilentz's Rainy Season in 1990 - but the updated juicy details are no less disturbing 20 years later. As a work of literature, the book could have benefited from a decent spell-checker, and Schwartz's disenchantment and disdain for certain failed organizations permeates each page. Arguably, with good reason. However, as a person ...more
Kimberly Wilson
Must read for those who work and volunteer in Haiti.
This should be essential reading for anyone that wants to work in development. It is an unidealized and painfully truthful account of what goes on beyond the periphery of most observers of development. I forget where I read that the author could not find a publisher for this book because of how many organizations it spoke ill of. We also see the challenges the author faces working alone in rural Haiti for his PhD fieldwork. It really hit home for me and captures the essence of this type of work, ...more
Kari Gang
Wow. This appears to be a self published book by an anthropologist who spent 10 years in Haiti hoping to have a career in Development. He ends up walking away from it all after finding case after case of corruption, lying, stealing, and a general lack of accountability from nearly ALL the people he met there. People from charity organizations, NGO's, pastors, priests, educators, name it. Very eye opening and disheartening. Will there ever be any hope for this country? So much has to ...more
Wow, this is one to pass on to others who share an interest in Haiti or in other third world countries. It is written almost as a memoir of the author's stay in Haiti. He is an anthropologist, a good story teller and an astute observer. The subtitle tells it all. Don't give up on trying to help, but read this book before you write another check.
Jonathan Cotton
Excellent read for anyone involved in foreign non-profit endeavors. While I believe his intentions are good, Schwartz comes across a little cynical at times. Still, his point is well taken and I have seen examples of some of these "travesties" enough times to understand his bitterness. Definitely worth checking out!
Fascinating, insightful, and depressing view into the NGO world of Haiti. He includes a few good suggestions for improvement in an appendix. One of the major disappointments with the book is how do of typos it is -- they get painfully frequent in the last third of the book.
The record of NGO's in Haiti is even worse than I thought! Schwartz portrays them as universally corrupt or naive, mostly corrupt. This seems unlikely 100% of the time, but his point is well-taken that donors have no idea about what actually happens on the ground.
A broad expose of broken development work in Haiti with a particular focus on food aid, written by a bewildered anthropologist/aid worker. Moral of the story: narcotrafficking is probably more effective and less unjust than development projects.
Excellent and a must read for people working and volunteering in Haiti or working in the development field in general. It's pretty scorching but fair and well researched.
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